Holistic Medicine

What can your feet tell you about your health?

What can your feet tell you about your health?
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Your feet don’t really get a lot of credit for their capabilities. Sure, they’re great for walking and driving, but the story doesn’t end there.

Did you know that your feet are capable of signalling that your body is in trouble?

Some of these signs may be an indication that you’re not quite as healthy as you thought:

Are your feet itchy?

In general, itches in the foot are usually met with a mindless scratch. No second thoughts. However, leaving these itches completely ignored may put you at risk of developing some serious infections (e.g. Athelete’s foot), that develop to become more than just an itch.

The urge to scratch is just the first step – suddenly your skin will become a lot more scaly, and fungus may even start to grow on the bottoms of your feet. Although it may simply be nothing, you should pay attention to how often you get the urge to scratch. It may save you money on chemical-filled medications.

Are your feet prone to swelling?

Some people notice that their feet look somewhat swollen, especially after injuries or heavy rounds of physical activity. Generally, the swelling will go away on its own after a couple days.

But what if it doesn’t?

When your feet stay swollen for long periods of time, it may be due to a collection of fluid in the affected areas that won’t go away. Some people notice swelling in their feet and legs as a result of blood building up in response to heart failure or kidney disease.

At the same time, some patients who use diabetes medication also notice swelling and high blood pressure in response to their prescribed doses.

Do you feel pain in your big toe?

This is something that a lot of people take for granted. Sure, many of us go through foot pain regularly when we exercise, but it’s different when the pain is restricted to a particular area. If you’re feeling pain around the tip of your toenail, it may be a sign that you have an ingrown toenail coming your way.

More severe pain all over the toe is also a common sign of gout – a condition where commonly, joints become repeatedly inflamed and cause intense pain in the affected areas. Once the condition is present, it is very difficult to deal with, and makes it nearly impossible to walk comfortably.

It may also be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis that starts in the toes and fingers, which then spreads into the hands and feet. These sensations may not feel like anything serious at first, but they do have the potential to be a sign of more dangerous problems to come.

Got Cold Feet?

“If your toes are always cold, one reason could be poor blood flow — a circulatory problem sometimes linked to smoking, high blood pressure, or heart disease. The nerve damage of uncontrolled diabetes can also make your feet feel cold. Other possible causes include hypothyroidism and anemia. A doctor can look for any underlying problems — or let you know that you simply have cold feet.

How about Red, White, and Blue Toes?

Raynaud’s disease can cause toes to turn white, then bluish, and then redden again and return to their natural tone. The cause is a sudden narrowing of the arteries, called vasospasms. Stress or changes in temperature can trigger vasospasms, which usually don’t lead to other health concerns. Raynaud’s may also be related to rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s disease, or thyroid problems.

Heel Pain

The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, inflammation where this long ligament attaches to the heel bone. The pain may be sharpest when you first wake up and put pressure on the foot. Arthritis, excessive exercise, and poorly fitting shoes also can cause heel pain, as can tendonitis. Less common causes include a bone spur on the bottom of the heel, a bone infection, tumor, or fracture.

Clubbed Toes

In clubbing, the shape of the toes (and often the fingers) changes. The nails are more rounded on top and curve downward. Lung disease is the most common underlying cause, but it also can be caused by heart disease, liver and digestive disorders, or certain infections. Sometimes, clubbing runs in families without any underlying disease.

Burning Feet

A burning sensation in the feet is common among diabetics with peripheral nerve damage. It can also be caused by a vitamin B deficiency, athlete’s foot, chronic kidney disease, poor circulation in the legs and feet (peripheral arterial disease), or hypothyroidism. 

Yellow Toenails

Your toenails tell a lot about your overall health. A fungal infection often causes thickened yellow toenails. Thick, yellow nails also can be a sign of an underlying disease, including lymphedema (swelling related to the lymphatic system), lung problems, psoriasis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Again, your feet do more than offering you the ability to walk. They can notify you when you have serious health issues present in your body, and the best part is, they do it early.

So many of the conditions that you may be ignoring will leave you in pain, and pressured into using dangerous antibiotics and painkillers to get through the  suffering. These medications are a lot less safe than the natural alternatives you can use to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Pay attention to your feet. They may just save your life.” (2)

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/tc/gout-topic-overview

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/ss/slideshow-what-your-feet-say

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartFailure/WarningSignsforHeartFailure/WarnWar-Signs-of-Heart-Failure_UCM_002045_Article.jsp

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-athletes-foot-treatment

 

 

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